Christmas caroling to the clients

Nobles County DAC visits 15 group homes to sing to workers, some of whom they haven't seen since COVID-19 arrived in March.

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Nobles County DAC staff members sing Christmas carols at the group home on Castlewood. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — More than a dozen direct care staff from the Nobles County Developmental Achievement Center boarded a bus Tuesday afternoon and drove around Worthington to sing Christmas carols to residents of 15 local group homes.

It was a chance to see the familiar faces of clients they work with at the DAC — some whom they haven’t seen since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic back in March.

“March 17 was the last day of work, and on June 29 we kind of resumed work, but (the Department of Human Services) restricted the numbers to come back for the sake of social distancing,” said Tina Stamer, program supervisor at the DAC.

With higher numbers of COVID in the community, some guardians have chosen to keep their clients safe at home.

“We’ve had a lot that started, but now opted to stay home until the numbers come down or to see what happens with vaccinations,” Stamer noted.


Working alongside the clients at the DAC — a day program for adults with disabilities — Stamer said she and fellow direct care staff view the clients as family.

“I know these clients just as well as I know my own children,” she said.

Which is why, three days before Christmas, staff came together to go caroling.

Singing stanzas of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" in the front yards of houses, they grinned and cheered as clients came to the doorway or watched through the window.

There were smiles and waves, even little dances, by group home residents who were cheered by the brief visits.

One client, Darla, stood in the doorway and waved, saying “I miss you guys! I want to come back to work.”


At Ridgewood, the carolers walked around to the back of the building to say “Hi” and sing through an open window to a resident unable to get out of bed.

“Most touching is just the fact that we haven’t seen a lot of them for a long time,” Stamer said. “That they still recognize us after nine months shows how important we are to them. They see us more often than they see a lot of their families.”

Stamer said DAC’s direct care staff planned the caroling about a month ago, setting a date so people could make plans to join in the fun.

“Some who had vacation this week came back so they could go caroling with us,” she shared.

At each home, clients received a gift bag filled with packets of hot chocolate and candy canes.

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Nobles County DAC staff members sing Christmas carols at the group home on 14th Street in Worthington. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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